Our Heartbreaking Christmas

posted in: Abstract Life, Journal | 0

Christmas didn’t turn out the way I thought it would this year. My mum was in Bangladesh shopping for my wedding reception and Shehab spent Christmas in New York. It would have been his first Christmas in the United States, but he needed a little vacation and needed to be with family. I think space was right for us, I’ve been so stressed and frustrated that I wasn’t much fun to be around. It was hard not having my mother around as well. I tried my best to remain energetic and happy for Dora. I even made up for our forgetful Tooth Fairy moment.

Dora and me

I managed to cook my traditional Christmas dinner: Lamb Roast, herb roasted red potatoes, buttered asparagus, and dinner rolls. Preenon brought a Pumpkin pie on his way from school and instead of wine we had sparkling juice. I would say dinner was a semi success since I overcooked the lamb.I wish I paid attention more to our dinner or to the fact that nonstick roasting pans produce a lot more gas. As a result, our Parakeets, Pumpkin, and Blueberry died on Christmas day. (Birds, especially Parakeets are very sensitive to CO2. They weren’t in the kitchen. However, the small amount of CO2 spread throughout the house. Blueberry was at the bottom of the cage when I found her and Pumpkin died in Dora’s arms.


I couldn’t hold back the tears when I found Blueberry at the bottom of the cage and after Pumpkin died. I kissed her a couple of times (even though I shouldn’t have because at the time I didn’t know why she died). We adopted Blueberry from Petsmart and Pumpkin from the Humane Society. Pumpkin had been in a couple of homes before we adopted her. The Humane Society said she must have been abused because she did not like people. We were told that it wasn’t safe to adopt her because she might bite Dora. Before we adopted Pumpkin she lived in a nursing home but they surrendered her because they couldn’t give her enough attention.

We still decided to give it a try, when we went to visit Pumpkin at the Humane Society she responded to Dora right away. We couldn’t touch her, but she enjoyed talking and interacting with Dora. We used to let her out of the cage, and she would wander the house freely exploring. The best thing about Pumpkin was she would always return to her cage. We adopted Blueberry a month later. Blueberry was a little more playful at first she loved sitting on Dora’s shoulders but eventually she liked being alone.

It was always fun to watch Pumpkin and Blueberry interact. They knew exactly when they wanted to sleep, 9:00 p.m. every night and when they wanted to wake up, 7:30 a.m. if everyone else was awake. You could never leave the house without saying, “Goodbye Pumpkin, Goodbye Blueberry.” I miss them! They were family.

Pumpkin and Blueberry’s deaths taught me something. It made me realize how I had become negligent and disconnected from everyone. I allowed frustration get to the best to me to the point where I didn’t notice the warning signs until it was too late. I don’t think I could have changed the turn of events.  I didn’t know that non-stick pans produce more gas. However, I could have given Blueberry a better last moment. Pumpkin died in Dora’s arms covered with my kisses. Their deaths made me realize that life is precious and that you have one chance to make a difference in this world. Pumpkin was breaking her barrier and showing us that a second chance at trust was possible made me realize that I need to break my walls. Pumpkin never lets us touch her; she was very clear about her boundaries. However, she enjoyed exploring the house. She would often walk to different rooms and observe what we were doing. December 25, 2015, is a day I will always remember, it was the day we lost Pumpkin and Blueberry, but it was also a day for me to remember that a second chance at the trust is possible.


Seeing your soul in the people I love

posted in: Family, Journey of Love | 0

Eight years ago today I lost my Nanna, (maternal grandfather). I still remember the scenario like it was yesterday. I was in my senior year of high school about to attend my physics class when my younger sister Rayka ran to my locker. Ishika did you hear? Nanna died?


The last photograph with my Nanna August 2007.

I’m going to sound horrible, but I didn’t cry. I was in complete shock, my body became numb, it felt like I was day dreaming. We knew that Nanna was suffering for years, he had Parkinson’s diseases. We just didn’t realize it he would leave us so fast.

It wasn’t until I saw his body the following day in Illinois when I realized my Nanna’s soul had left this Earth. And even then I couldn’t cry.

Looking back, I realized why I didn’t cry. I was always with him. There was never a time when I didn’t spend time with him, and it was time for him to rest in peace.

I had an incident on New Years Eve when it was just my Nanna and me. He had broken his hip, so he was bed ridden. The Parkison’s disease also got the best of his mind, and it was slowly deteriorating. He always remembered who I was, though, I was his eldest grandchild, and I like to believe that I was also his favorite.
I was getting his dinner ready for him; Chicken, rice, some veggies, lentils, and water. I brought the tray up to his room. My mom told me not to leave his side when he ate, but I needed to go to the bathroom. It was literally five minutes, ok probably a couple minutes more.

I came back, and the plate was complete upside down! The tray covered with water, and there was a drumstick in the water glass! I know right! And my Nanna, well he was just sitting there smiling like a cheeky little five-year-old, the kind of look I see in Dora’s face. And when I say five-year-old, well I asked him how it happened, and his response, “I don’t know.”

Don’t worry I cleaned everything up, but till this day I always remember his cheeky little smile.

It wasn’t until today when I couldn’t control my tears anymore. My mom wrote a piece about how she missed him and how she wished that he was here meet Dora, to see me as a bride and to meet Shehab for the first time.

I see a lot of my Nanna in Shehab.
I see his soft heart.
His need to make me smile.
How no matter how stubborn I get, he’s always there to handle it. However, nothing beats my Nanna.

I can still recall a memory from my childhood; I’m not sure why but I became quite angry with my Nanna. I took all the lotion and perfume bottles on the dresser, and I threw them on the ground. My Nanna just stood there watching me. Afterward picked up each item and just hugged me.


This photo was taken in Bangladesh January 1992 

Don’t worry Shehab has never experienced one of my childhood tantrums, he has experienced some mean yelling sprees, though.

My Nanna never gave up one me; he always made me like I was the most beautiful, confident and strongest woman in the world.

Sometimes the people you miss with all your heart shine through the people you love the most.  I see my Nanna’s heart in my husband’s soul and his cheeky little smile in my baby sister’s smile.



The start of our Love Story

posted in: Journey of Love, Marriage | 0



I always told myself I would never get married within six months. I kind of feel like a hypocrite now, since that’s what happened! Yep, Shehab and I got married on a day less than six months of our first date. To some, it might sound like a chaotic nightmare. To me, well I’ll get back to you on that.

I don’t regret it, though. Looking back, we’ve had our ups and downs, and it’s only been four months. You could say we haven’t experienced the reality of marriage since I haven’t had my official reception yet, and we only live together on the weekends! Now that’s another story.

I know everyone is probably wondering, how did Shehab meet Ishika? Well here’s how the story goes.

Shehab had been living in the Minnesota since 2013 perusing a Master’s in Business Administration. On April 26, 2014, we went attended the same show at his University. The irony, we have pictures of him sitting right next to my mom! We never noticed each other until the following year. Our family friend was having his Islamic akth on January 18, 2015, Shehab and I both attended the holud ceremony on January 16, 2015. He had just returned from a visit to Bangladesh.

The bride was only a couple of years older than me, and I knew this wedding would lead to the magical question of, “so when is it your turn?” And that’s something I did not want to deal with hearing.

Flashback to the past.

My aunt brought my first proposal when I was seventeen, barely done with high school and I completely freaked out! Since then people had been fearful of bringing me a proposal, I mean I was barely done with high school! My mom always defended me, though, any proposal that came was given directly to me because it was my decision. My aunt and I would have a discussion every year about me being “ready” for marriage. How do you know if you’re ready, without speaking to the guy! My answer was always, “I’ll meet the guy, but I can’t guarantee anything!” She never came back until the following year; it was a fun cycle while it lasted.

Back to the wedding, so like I said I did not want to deal with the…” so you’re next!” or “when is it your turn?” so I spent a majority of my time hiding in different rooms since they had the holud and akht in the house. I guess Shehab spotted me in a single moment when I would peek out into the living room every now and then. I did recall him looking at me and talking to his brother-in-law, which caused me to go back into hiding.

Within that moment, Shehab decided that he needed to get my number. *Shehab later admitted that it was solely to date me; he never thought we would end up married. Anyways he didn’t ask for my number right there and then… He waited until the day of the akht on January 18, and even then it was a little bit of a challenge. I went into hiding the second day as well.

This is how I remember it… I came out to view the ceremony. There was a red couch in the middle of the living room. My dad sat on one end and the other end, next to a couch on a chair was Shehab’s aunt. Trust me this detail is important. They had just served cake, and Shehab sat right next to me. His first words to me, “Aren’t you going to have some cake”? Clever pick up line right!?! This lead into a conversation about cakes because our family friend, the elder sister of the bride makes amazing desserts and she’s finally releasing her yummy recipes at Dolly Loves Food.

So here we’re having our conversation about cakes and his brother-in-law walks by with a nudge and says, “Hey you should tell her about your dad’s business”. And I’m thinking what am I getting myself into? Side Note: Shehab’s dad owns a garments business in Bangladesh that supplies many clothing items to some of the top retailers.

Anyways so he started talking to me about his garments and slowly transitioned into the “Can I get your number?” While my dad sat on one side of me and his aunt on the other!

We started texting after that, but, to be honest; I had no idea that he liked me. On January 23, 2015, he had to attend a conference and on his way home texted me asking if he could see me and have coffee. We ended up going to a Mexican restaurant by my house, and I still had no idea that this was a date…until the next day when he came to my house for my dad’s birthday.

Oh, so how did that happen… well when he came to drop me off at home, my mom invited him and his mom to my dad’s birthday party. She thought it would be nice for his mom to meet more people. Let’s just say both mother and daughter were shocked the next day when Shehab told me he liked me.

Now when did Shehab go from just wanting to date me to falling in love and wanting to marry me?

When my mom invited him to our house, he looked at me and said, “My mom is going to kill me, I never told her I was coming here.”

My response, “Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow at my dad’s party if your mom doesn’t kill you and if she does, I guess I’ll see you at your funeral!”

And that’s the story of how Ishika met Shehab and Shehab fell in love with Ishika…

I+H Engagment-50

I should probably clarify some of the terms referenced in this blog posts.

Holud- a pre-ceremony where a yellow paste is placed on the bride and groom’s body as a form of well wishes and luck for their marriage.

Akht- also known as Nikah- this is the Islamic marriage.

How did your love story begin?

*The photo above was from our Engagement on May 8, 2015. The photograph was taken by Altamish + Hannan Photography